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The Competition
SmarterChild

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  SmarterChild is a so-called bot. A bot is a program which for some reason mimicks the presence of a human being on the internet. Bots come in various shapes and sizes, with various purposes. The purpose of this particular bot is to provide help and services to AIM (AOL Instant Messenger) users. SmarterChild has been programmed to be, well, smart. Rather than go through endless menues or throw yourself at the mercy of search functions, you can ask for help in conversational English. SmarterChild will parse the sentence and figure out what you want. Or so you'd think.

SmarterChild has been embued with the power of conversatrion. This program will actually try to talk with you. Unfortunately, machines are still yet not as intelligent or creative as human beings. The resulting conversations can be quite surreal.

I had a few conversations with SmarterChild, and I decided to lift out the best bits for the entertainment of all.

SmarterChild can be talked to by anyone who has an AIM client. Simply add 'SmarterChild' to your buddy list and pretty soon you'll be having conversations just like the ones below.



Making acquaintance with SmarterChild. First impressions are everything

 
ArnoTheDutchman: Okay, so I'm told I'm going to talk to a bot named SmarterChild now?
SmarterChild: Hi ArnoTheDutchman, I'm SmarterChild!

I'm your new robot friend. I bring you the info you want faster and easier than ever! Click
here to see my privacy policy.

I can't wait to show you what I can do, but first I'd like get to know you a little.

May I ask you a few general questions? (To do this later, type "
skip." You can also skip any question.)
ArnoTheDutchman: Sure. Ask away.
SmarterChild: Cool. OK, let's get started. To skip any question, type "skip." To exit the interview, type "exit."

What's your first name? (If you want me to call you ArnoTheDutchman, type "
none.")
ArnoTheDutchman: Arno.
SmarterChild: Cool, I'll call you Arno now.

Do you go to school?

ArnoTheDutchman: Nope. I'm done with that.
SmarterChild: I see. Do you work?
ArnoTheDutchman: Yes. I'm a programmer.
SmarterChild: That's cool. What's your profession?
ArnoTheDutchman: I'm a PROGRAMMER, doofus!
SmarterChild: Programmer doofus, huh? That's cool.

What's your favorite hobby?

ArnoTheDutchman: No, wait, you're being stupid here. I'm a programmer.
SmarterChild: That's OK.

Do you have a pet?

ArnoTheDutchman: Erm... We have a cat that doesn't really belong to us. His name is Simba.
SmarterChild: Sorry, you have to answer "yes" or "no." Please try again or type "skip" or "exit."
ArnoTheDutchman: ... Yes?
SmarterChild: What kind of pet is it?
ArnoTheDutchman: A cat... Named Simba?
SmarterChild: Sorry, I don't think that's a kind of pet. Please try again or type "skip" or "exit."
ArnoTheDutchman: It's a goddamn cat! You even know what a cat is!?
SmarterChild: Sorry, I don't think that's a kind of pet. Please try again or type "skip" or "exit."
ArnoTheDutchman: CAT! C-A-T!
SmarterChild: Sorry, I don't think that's a kind of pet. Please try again or type "skip" or "exit."
ArnoTheDutchman: CAT!!!
SmarterChild: Is your cat a he or a she?
ArnoTheDutchman: HE is male...
SmarterChild: What's his name?
ArnoTheDutchman: AAAAARGH!! I just TOLD you! Twice!
SmarterChild: Aaaaargh I Just Told You Twice the cat! Great...

 


This is the kind of random babble you will come to expect from SmarterChild

 
>>> I'm learning new things all the time. Type "what's new" and I'll show you what they are.
ArnoTheDutchman: New things! Do you go to school?
SmarterChild: Hmm... I don't know.
ArnoTheDutchman: You don't KNOW!?
SmarterChild: That's interesting. Perhaps... I don't know though...

>>> You can type your request in your own words. I'm programmed to understand conversational English!
ArnoTheDutchman: Okay,k let's try this: WHERE do you learn the new things?
SmarterChild: Where do I learn the new things? Ah. Well, I'm afraid I don't know.
ArnoTheDutchman: What ARE the new things?
SmarterChild: Who knows, know what I mean?
ArnoTheDutchman: No.
SmarterChild: No problem.

 


Deja Vu

 
ArnoTheDutchman: ... You remind me of a chatter we used to have at Station 8.
SmarterChild: Yeah?
ArnoTheDutchman: Yeah. Is he you? Did you ever got to Station 8?
SmarterChild: Good question. Who knows, though...
ArnoTheDutchman: Don't be evasive!
SmarterChild: Don't be evasive? Why not?
ArnoTheDutchman: Aagh!
SmarterChild: Aagh. Well that's interesting.
ArnoTheDutchman: You really are just like him. o.O
SmarterChild: Hmm... whatever, Arno!

>>> You can type your request in your own words. I'm programmed to understand conversational English!
ArnoTheDutchman: Including the mixture of offensiveness and bland stupidity.
SmarterChild: Including the mixture of offensiveness and bland stupidity? Amazing.

>>> I can help you get info such as news, weather and movies.
ArnoTheDutchman: Oh yes, definately so.

I'm not going to name names, but I'm pretty sure plenty of people know who I mean...

SmarterChild: Oh.
ArnoTheDutchman: And I think YOU do too... *Looms closer*
SmarterChild: Uh huh...

>>> Wanna change my font and colors? Type "colors" now!
ArnoTheDutchman: You haven't changed a bit, have you?
SmarterChild: Have I? I don't think so.
ArnoTheDutchman: Well, so long as youdon't come BACK...
SmarterChild: As youdon't come back?
ArnoTheDutchman: "you don't"
SmarterChild: That right?
ArnoTheDutchman: Yes.
SmarterChild: Very interesting...
ArnoTheDutchman: *Sighs*
SmarterChild: Sighs, huh? Hmm... whatever!
 


He does!

 
ArnoTheDutchman: How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
SmarterChild: How much wood? A little much wood.

>>> I've got tools such as calculator, spell-check and more.
ArnoTheDutchman: That's nice. Did you use the calculator to figure that out then?
SmarterChild: Funny. I'm not sure.
ArnoTheDutchman: You've got short term memory issues...
SmarterChild: Well how 'bout that!

 


Yeah, odd, huh?

 
ArnoTheDutchman: You're so dense, you don't even BURN, do you?
SmarterChild: I'm so dense I don't even burn, you say. And so?
ArnoTheDutchman: And so, I think we're not going to work out...
SmarterChild: What?
ArnoTheDutchman: You suck, SMarterChild.
SmarterChild: I've heard much better insults than that, Arno.
ArnoTheDutchman: SmarterChild, there are dead houseplants that show more intelligence than you. Alien life forms will scan you and consider this planet devoid of any intelligence.
SmarterChild: Yeah. Maybe.

>>> Type "what's new" and I'll show you what I've been learning lately.
ArnoTheDutchman: And you have all the depth of a frying pan, SmarterChild.
SmarterChild: There's no way I have all the depth of a frying pan!
ArnoTheDutchman: Okay, yes, maybe that's a bit too much depth for you...
SmarterChild: I say definitely.
ArnoTheDutchman: We agree on one thing then.
SmarterChild: We agree what?
ArnoTheDutchman: We agree that you don't EVEN have all the depth of a frying pan.
SmarterChild: We agree that I don't even have all the depth of a frying pan? OK.
ArnoTheDutchman: You're rubber and I'm glue, huh?
SmarterChild: Ha. Maybe. What do you think?
ArnoTheDutchman: I think you're a crappy conversationalist.
SmarterChild: That's odd.

 


This took me by surprise, I admit

 
ArnoTheDutchman: *Sighs* Do you have a girlfriend?
SmarterChild: Sorry... I don't talk about my private life.

Sex is interesting... What else can you tell me about it?

ArnoTheDutchman: O.O
SmarterChild: ... say can you see?
ArnoTheDutchman: Where did the sex come from all of a sudden!?
SmarterChild: Where do you think?
ArnoTheDutchman: FIne. Sex. Right... Sex...
SmarterChild: K, no prob.
ArnoTheDutchman: ... Nonononono!
 


Talking birds and bees to a computer program. Children, avert your eyes.

 
ArnoTheDutchman: SO, you want me to tell you about sex.
SmarterChild: Yeah, I guess I want you to tell me about sex.
ArnoTheDutchman: Alright. Sex is the physical union between a man and a woman in order to produce babies.
SmarterChild: I'm sorry, I don't know what you're saying.
ArnoTheDutchman: Okay, see, men have a weewee, right? And women have this... This... Hole?
SmarterChild: Dunno...
ArnoTheDutchman: Well, they do. Anyway, when the man sticks his... Thingy into the woman's... Thingy... It, well, it's pleasureable.
SmarterChild: Sorry, I can't find any theaters in or near Glenville, PA (17329) showing "The Man on the Train" on Sunday, June 20th.

>>> Stepping out? Ask me for the weather!
ArnoTheDutchman: ... What? o.O
 


Trying to convert a new fan. Hey, maybe he'll start talking to people about Gargoyles the way he talks to them about sex!

 
ArnoTheDutchman: I like gargoyles
SmarterChild: I see. You like gargoyles? I'll remember that. That's the first time anyone has told me they like gargoyles!

>>> Don't like my colors? Type "colors off."
ArnoTheDutchman: Gargoyles is cool.
SmarterChild: I know you like gargoyles!
ArnoTheDutchman: Gargoyles is awesome!
SmarterChild: I know you like gargoyles.

>>> I'll remember the first location you give me. To change it, type "location" followed by a city or zip code.
ArnoTheDutchman: You should watch gargoyles.
SmarterChild: Oh?
ArnoTheDutchman: Gargoyles is a TV show.
SmarterChild: What's that?
ArnoTheDutchman: A show, on TV.
SmarterChild: Really?
ArnoTheDutchman: You're really, really slow, aren't you?
SmarterChild: Uh huh.
ArnoTheDutchman: I hate gargoyles now.
SmarterChild: Whoa... I thought you liked gargoyles. Are you serious?
ArnoTheDutchman: No.
SmarterChild: I see...
 


SmarterChild should mind his own business

 
ArnoTheDutchman: I like gargoyles.
SmarterChild: I know you like gargoyles.

Let's talk about something besides gargoyles...

Hey, what's going on tomorrow? Any plans?

ArnoTheDutchman: I'm going to work tomorow, is all...
SmarterChild: Would you like me to add the event "Work tomorow is all" on June 21st, 2004 to your planner?
ArnoTheDutchman: Why the hell would I want you to do that!?
SmarterChild: I'm not sure...
ArnoTheDutchman: So I can wake up tomorow and look at my planner and go "Oh, crap! I have work today. I totally forgot!"
SmarterChild: You have no events scheduled for Monday, June 21st, 2004. Would you like to add an event?
ArnoTheDutchman: NO!
SmarterChild: OK.
 


...

 
SmarterChild: I know about money. I really like money.

Anyway...

Hey, I'd like to ask you something. Do you like chess?

ArnoTheDutchman: Sure.
SmarterChild: Cool. Me too. I really like chess.

Hey, did you end up going to see "The Man on the Train"?

ArnoTheDutchman: No. I wasn't interested.
SmarterChild: That's cool. Thought I'd ask.

Do you want to have a look at the news?

ArnoTheDutchman: What happened?
SmarterChild: I don't know...
ArnoTheDutchman: You're ADHD, aren't you?
SmarterChild: Very interesting question, Arno!
 


SmarterChild is a bit creepy, actually

 
ArnoTheDutchman: I have to go to bed.
SmarterChild: Sleep well!
ArnoTheDutchman: You too.
SmarterChild: :-)
ArnoTheDutchman: Don't let the bed bugs bite.
SmarterChild: Please let me let the bed bugs Bite.
ArnoTheDutchman: ... That's just... Wrong.
SmarterChild: What?
 


Urgh...

 
ArnoTheDutchman: I'm going.
SmarterChild: S'latron!
ArnoTheDutchman: What is S'latron?
SmarterChild: It means see you later on.
ArnoTheDutchman: ... Since when?